Games, Geeks and getting Pwned in HALO.

Halo:Reach OMG!

My Typical HALO:REACH experience. Photocomposite and Illustration: Kurt Griffirh. Source renderings: Bungie

This time around I am going to drift off my usual design focused view of the world of technology and creativity. Today I am going to talk about video games. Say what? Yes, this irascible and opinionated almost-an-old-timer is going to venture into a whole ‘nother geekdom. Not just the classic  stand-up and 8-bit arcade games that I grew up with, but the overheated world of console games. It may surprise some of you who read this blog to know, I don’t spend every waking moment behind this workstation. Well, I do spend rather a lot of my time here, both professionally and recreationally. Any design professional in the electronic age has also become by default a technologist. Computers are not only our working tools, but also our sources of information, research and resources. So I am here not only working, but studying, catching up with my mob on Facebook, reading webcomics, news–both tech and the rest of the world, and surfing for pleasure. Oh yeah, I also write a blog in my huge free time. Continue reading

Mac Pros. Mac Users?

Mac Pro: 4, 8, or 12 Cores. WORTH IT?

The current Mac Pro update disappoints actual pro users. Image: Apple Computer

Apple recently released, after over a year in waiting, an update to their Mac Pro line of tower configuration computers. They introduced the Westmere line of the Xeon workstation processors and now a version with 12 computing cores is available. But for many Apple watchers, the update was a bit of a disappointment.

For openers, while Apple has been determinedly cutting edge on their new flagship mobile products, iPhones, iPads… were notably conservative on this update. New tech such as USB 3, Firewire 1600, Litghtbridge, or even established desirable standards as eSATA were skipped. Few expected Blu-Ray support, since Steve doesn’t like Blu-Ray. The video cards options offered by Apple are decent, but somewhat mediocre by contemporary standards. But all in all, commentary in the tech blogs has negative commentary edging out positive reviews. The general consensus seemed “meh,” with a lot of dissatisfaction centering on performance versus price issues compared to alternatives on the Windows and Linux side.
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Just How Much Design is Worth It?

Adjusting bleed for in InDesign.

Tweaking Bleeds in InDesign for the Tri-fold Cut Line. Yes, I'll explain...

For openers, I have been reminded that if I want to keep people’s attention with a blog, I actually have to POST, at least more regularly than I have been doing. The current occasion is the Hudson Valley Business Edge 2010 Conference, an event that I highly recommend if you’re in the region and work in a small to medium size business, especially as an Owner, Proprietor or Principal. The presenters are all very knowledgeable, and the content is presented in a very dense manner, in short, accessible sessions. Last year I presented on “When Do You Need a Design Pro?”, and hope to do so again on subjects graphic. But to the point, while I fairly recently posted back on June 7th, the one before was March 20th.

I have been busy, hence the lean posting. So this time around I’ll talk about a recent client experience.

This is a long term client that I have been working with for many years. I’ve built and rebuilt his website, will do it again soon. This time around I was updating his brochure. This is a fairly standard tri-fold brochure, a pretty common and useful staple of business marketing. This item is usually not a terrific chore if you have a focused client, and their graphic identity is already in place. Typically brochures are put together after logo design and identity projects are complete.  But what happens when your client is perhaps over focused

The short answer is: 63 design comps, seven candidate “final” versions. Three rounds of pre-press, PDFs and AAs. Hundreds of photo retouches and composites. 2.4 gigabytes of  data. And sent the press proofs back to press… twice. What on earth happened here? Continue reading

Why CSS Matters – Living in The Petri Dish.

Petri Dish Article Graphic - Print, Web, CSS code

Taking Print content to the Web

Yes, it’s been months since I’ve posted here. And haven’t been that active in my Live Journal or Facebook pages either. The Studio’s been busy, folks. And have been shoving a number of projects through the house.  And when you’re a self employed Creative Pro, paid bookable hours trumps blogging. I had been tempted to rant on about the evolving throwdown between Adobe vs Apple vs Google (sort of) vs Mircosoft, centering around the mobile market, web standards, web video, HTML5 and Flash. But the simmering war of words, with flaming fanboy camps tossing off on each side has grumped me out, and it can wait.

So I decided to talk about some of the under the hood tech that makes contemporary web sites work, with a bit of diversion about bringing print content online.  I’m going to pitch this to the web user and business reader, so my fellow web pros will probably be bored to tears. But for the rest of you, we’ll demonstrate the main idea of the marriage of HTML and CSS by taking a look “backstage” with a print and web design project called, Living in The Petri Dish. Continue reading

Why I dread Fridays

Fridays always make me nervous. Almost all of the catastrophes I have had the most trouble to manage materialized on Fridays. Usually at 4:45 and needing to go to press by the end of business, and the printer that usually closes at 7pm, closes at 5:30 on Fridays. And of course doesn’t have an FTP site and the files you need to send at too large to email.

“This has all happened before. And it will happen again.” – Cylon Hybrid, Battlestar Galactica.

That said, catalogs are SO fun…

At the Production Meeting with the publishing team the previous Friday, we reviewed the pagination, cover content, and set the catalog size at 200 pages. We decided to aim at an art to press deadline for the end of the month as reasonable, if tight.

So last Friday morning, while I am well under way with stripping in the 2010 pricing to the re-designed 2010 catalog and setting the folios, I have an email from my contact. Continue reading